Western Australia’s third fatal shark attack this year has been described as “the definition of random” as Broome’s Cable Beach reopened to the public.
The victim of Sunday’s mauling has been identified as 58-year-old Charles Cernobori, a Broome hotel worker.
Mr Cernobori was bodyboarding 30 to 40 metres offshore when he was attacked by what is suspected to have been a tiger shark.
He was recovered from the water and treated by local police before St John Ambulance officers arrived but could not be saved.
Police fired shots at the three-to-four metre shark, which remained very close to the shore for about half an hour and is yet to be found.
WA’s two other fatal attacks this year were both in Esperance, on the state’s south coast.
Surfer Andrew Sharpe, 40, was taken by a shark last month. Gary Johnson, 57, was killed by a great white shark in January while diving with his wife.
Shark attacks in the warmer waters off Broome, in the state’s far north Kimberley region, are far less common, although there have been relatively frequent saltwater crocodile sightings and box jellyfish attacks over the years.
Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley on Monday said authorities were awaiting an incident report and DNA sampling that could confirm the shark’s species.
“This really, in my view without trivialising it, seems to be the definition of random,” he told Perth radio 6PR.
“It’s been nearly 30 years since we’ve had an attack in the Kimberley.
“Tiger sharks do behave a bit different than (great) whites, we know that. We’ve started tagging tiger sharks now to learn a bit more about those.
“In terms of policy, we’re very clear, that if there is an imminent danger to anybody in the water or the public, then we’ll take lethal action.”
WA’s fisheries department deployed a patrol vessel to monitor the area but all local beaches have since reopened.
Police praised the efforts of a couple on the beach who saw Mr Cernobori thrashing in the water, dragged him onto the sand and called for an ambulance.
Surf Live Saving WA’s patrols of Cable Beach finished last month.